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Student NotesLet's look at one more way to generate interest in a song before we look at some Jazz specific ways. What if we were to stop playing, stop counting, and stay perfectly still for a moment or two? This puts the audience and the player(s) in a state of tension and they will stay that way (if you don't stop too long) until you play the next set of notes, rhythms, or chords. It's great fun to add into a song, especially at the last few bars (measures) of a song.

In contrast to a complete stop, what if we were to hold a note or a chord for an indeterminate length of time? This is also great for the end of a song. One or several holds can be used to generate a big finish to a song. When used in conjunction with a complete stop first, it really adds excitement to the finish of a song. Drummers playing a wild solo at the end of a song are most commonly playing this solo during a hold.

Look at the figure above. The two diagonal lines in the first measure (between the first and second quarter notes) tell the player to stop completely, abruptly and stay perfectly still. These lines are referred to as a "Grand Pause," G.P., or "The Cut Off." The symbol over the last quarter note in the first measure is tells the player to hold this note. This symbol is referred to as a "Fermatas," "The Birds Eye," or "The Hold." If you are playing or listening to classical music, formal terms like The Conductor's Score, Grand Pause, or Fermatas are used to describe these interesting musically related things and ideas. If you are in the Jazz world, you will hear less formal terms used. Jazz is a less formal way of doing music. Being a Jazz musician myself, I would use terms like The Chart, The Cut Off, and The Hold (or birds eye) to describe these interesting musically related things and ideas.

I have a bias and I will tell what that bias is here. This does not mean that you should develop the same bias. Follow your own path and not a path someone else has made for themselves. I chose my path many years ago based on many factors, musical, personal taste, environmental, and etc. You must do the same for yourself. My bias is:

"I believe Jazz to be the ultimate musical expression. I believe Jazz to be in a higher form of music then Classical. I believe that most early composers were in fact Jazz musicians that were asked to write down their solos so that other people could play and enjoy them. I consider live performance of Classical music to be boring in the same way as I would find watching the same movie over and over to be boring. Performers of Classical music have many rules and restrictions to the original score. Classical performances offer little risk on the part of the players or the Conductor. Jazz in it's essence is risk taking and creation at it's highest level in music. Musical scores become reference guides and not rule books in the musical world of Jazz. Each player is able to express themselves to any degree in the Jazz format. Making music without reading it from a page becomes an exercise in on-the-spot compositions. The players' performance risk is much greater in Jazz then in Classical, but the rewards are equally greater for the player and the audience. This is my personal opinion, and with this said, lets talk Jazz....."
12 Note Companion
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